A Primer on the NBA Schedule
The NBA schedule is widely seen as one of the more challenging schedules in all of professional sports. With 30 teams across the NBA playing 82-game schedules, the opportunity to wager on this sport comes very frequently when the season is in full swing.
As is the case with any sport you have an interest in wagering on, using the NBA schedule to your advantage can lead to greater profits and a nice bankroll to play with.
NBA Home Court Advantage
The NBA is no different than other professional sports in that often times teams will play noticeably different on their home floor than they do when they play on the road. Deciphering which teams play better at home gives you an immediate handicapping advantage, and often times can help unearth value on the board.
As mentioned previously, the NBA’s regular season is similar to running a marathon. A total of 2,460 games are on the NBA season schedule, meaning that over the course of a season you will find teams in the middle of long road trips, long home stands and everything in between.
For example, by utilizing the NBA schedule, one can easily take a look at the NBA upcoming games and spot a very strong home team beginning a key 5-game stretch at home that determines playoff positioning. Another example would be finding a strong home team that just finished a long road trip and struggled during it and now finds themselves in dire need of ending a slump.
Home court advantage doesn’t just take into account teams that play well from start to finish. Home court advantage can also be found in shorter bets (i.e. quarters or halves), as often times data and analytics will show that certain teams start out hot at home before fizzling out late or vice-versa.
Other elements of home court advantage to factor in includes travel by the opposing team, west coast tip times involving east coast teams, altitude (namely for the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz), and rowdy crowds.
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Using NBA Schedule Quirks to Your Advantage
As touched upon in the home court advantage discussion above, there are several pockets that bettors can find in the NBA schedule where you are able to find value on the board. The most common one relates to NBA teams that are playing games in back-to-back nights. With 2,460 games on the NBA schedule, the league has no choice but to have teams play games in consecutive nights to avoid the regular season being even longer than it already is.
The NBA has tried to pare back on scheduling teams in back-to-back games to encourage star players to participate in as many regular season games as they can, however they still occur all the time. Because of this, there is a real opportunity to exploit this quirk in the NBA schedule to your advantage. Per a study done by RotoGrinders and databasebasketball.com, teams in the second leg of a back-to-back win just 43% of the time straight up and teams in the second leg of back-to-back road games win only 32.9% of the time.
Not all back-to-backs are created equal in the NBA either. When a team has back-to-back games at home, their expected win percentage in the second leg rises to 52.2%. When a team has a road-home back-to-back setup, the home team wins an astonishing 60.5% of the time.
Long road trips frequently happen every season to allow for west-coast teams to knock out several games taking place out east, and vice-versa for east-coast teams needing to knock out the block of games set out west. The San Antonio Spurs are notorious for having a long road trip in February every season due to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo occupying their arena. When looking at long stretches of home or away games, taking back-to-back games into stock is largely important.
Identifying teams that play better (or worse) in the second leg of a back-to-back can lead to a very nice means to find an advantage with your wagering.
A New Phrase: NBA Load Management
Another situation to consider as we move towards 2020 is the fact that many teams try to manage the workload for their star players to ensure they are as fresh and healthy as possible as they enter the postseason. As Michael Jordan and the other players from the 80’s wince in pain at this new “load management” phenomenon, gamblers should also be very privy to what stars may be taking the night off, for it can greatly impact your bet one way or the other.
Some stars that are known for load management include Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, but this latest phenomenon has caught on beyond superstars and now even includes rookies that have had an injury and are being slowly nestled back into a full workload (i.e. Zion Williamson).
If you see a back-to-back situation where a team will rest their star talent, that could very well be a ticket to a winning wager.
Here at OddsUSA, our experts have you covered (no pun intended) with the latest news and information to help you profit the most. Good luck and happy wagering!